By Tom Crawshaw
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
We all have to make many, many decisions in our lives. Some big, some small. Some decisions completely change the direction of our lives, while others fade away into insignificance. How many times have you ignored that hunch or gut feeling, convincing yourself, through logic and reasoning, to choose something different?
We often disregard our body’s intelligence and guidance, only to look back and realize that it was trying to steer us in the right direction. Instead of trusting ourselves, we reach for tools, systems, strategies, books, or anything outside of ourselves that can convince us that a different approach is going to be more effective.
Call it your intuition, inner guidance, higher self, gut feeling, or whatever label works best for you. I like to think of it as being similar to the GPS in your car. You have to set the end destination and drive the car, but the GPS will find you the quickest and easiest route to take. Just as when we are driving and fail to listen to our car’s GPS, when we ignore our internal GPS, we might end up taking a longer “route” with more “traffic,” obstacles that might even cause us to get frustrated and angry. I’ve often found myself swearing deliriously at my GPS for adding an extra twenty minutes to my journey after taking a wrong turn.
The truth is, you already have all the answers you’ll ever need. Your internal GPS is waiting for you to input your destination so it can help guide you towards your end goal, purpose, or mission. Why is hardly anyone talking about this? Why aren’t we all taking time out of our busy days to seek guidance from our internal GPS so we know where best to focus our efforts?
Conditioned To Mistrust Ourselves
All throughout our lives, we’ve been conditioned to seek guidance outside of ourselves. At home, our parents took care of us for many years before we had to start making decisions on our own. At school, the teacher was always right, even if we held an opposing viewpoint. I remember, when growing up, I always wanted to be one of the cool kids. So much so, that I would hide my unpopular music tastes and lack of interest in football, just to try to fit in. We often make decisions to please others, to fit in, or to improve our images in the eyes of others. It’s this kind of misguided motivation that can lead us astray.
You know how easily kids get swept away by some new craze or trend, just because everyone else is doing it, right? It’s pretty much the same for adults too. I remember some friends at school all deciding to attend the same university. Not because it was the best option for their chosen course of study, but because all their friends were going. Think about how many people aspire to be artists, musicians, comedians, writers or inventors, only to end up settling for an office job, just like everyone else.
When I look around in the entrepreneurial business space, I see people everywhere shouting about their new course or program that will take you from zero to hero in a matter of weeks. All you have to do is fork out $5K and follow their system, explicitly. So, why then, do so many people fail to get their wonderful new business off the ground after implementing everything from their new program? Although there are many reasons for this, one of them has to do with ignoring their inner GPS. They are trying to chase money and success, and just because it’s worked for someone else, they believe it will work for them, too. This is not how reality works. I’ve experienced it myself. You might achieve some short-term success, but you’ll still feel empty and unfulfilled because you are not advancing closer to your true purpose. You are not acting in accordance with your values.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that teachers, universities, office jobs, and business courses are inherently bad or useless. They are all amazing tools that you absolutely can use on your journey. Sometimes, getting that office job or buying that expensive business program is the best thing you could have done. Often, they will give you new experiences and opportunities to learn and grow. Usually, however, if you’re acting out of alignment with your internal GPS, more discomfort will come to the surface, trying get you to pay attention.
Ultimately, the buck stops with you. You will keep making decisions every day whether you listen to your internal GPS, or not. Some people spend their whole lives chasing cars, money, women, and fame. The famous actor Jim Carey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” What he’s really saying is that if you let money and fame become your purpose, you will not find happiness and fulfillment. When you trust yourself to go all-in on your passion or purpose, devoting enough time, patience, and trust to pursuing it, the money and success will follow, even if that means eating shit for years until it happens.
When Life Gets Easy
Imagine, just for a moment, how it would feel to wake up and tune into your internal GPS to get guidance on where to place your focus for the day. Life would start to happen with more flow and ease because you would not be second-guessing yourself or obsessing over what other people are doing. When you make decisions from a place that is in line with your purpose, you are able to let go of the desire for instant gratification. You may not see results immediately, but you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re heading in the right direction.
So many people today, especially in business, are chronic overthinkers. Analysis paralysis happens when we struggle to make a decision when too many options exist. Often, we place too much emphasis on the outcome. We compare this option to that option, trying to determine which will yield the best results, ending up stuck in round after round of comparisons. The fear that we will not make the optimal decision creeps in, often sending us scurrying back to the known and familiar. The result may be that no consciously thought-out decision ever gets made. When we can stay clear-headed and connect to our higher purpose, however, making that scary decision will seem like the only option that feels right.
Logic and reasoning can be useful, at times, to help us focus on what’s really important, so we can identify when we’re being hijacked by our emotions. Making decisions fueled by fear, greed, anger, or desperation never ends well. Usually, when these emotions show up, we’re reacting to something or someone that has triggered us. It’s important to calm down, center yourself, and get clear on how to move forward, consciously.
Listening to your internal GPS naturally will bring up a lot of fear and discomfort, because you’re going against your usual way of doing things. Your mind and body have been conditioned to act in certain ways based on your past behavior. When you recognize whenever your past conditioning is trying to take over, that awareness, coupled with some kind of positive action, will help you reclaim your power.
Is There Any Proof?
Steve Jobs once said in the famous commercial, “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” You only get called crazy when your ideas make other people uncomfortable, when you’re going against the grain. It’s likely that your internal GPS will guide you toward decisions that will not make sense to most people, maybe even yourself!
Intuition has guided the decisions of many influential and successful individuals like Henry Ford and Elon Musk. They both made what appeared to be irrational decisions early on in their careers. People thought they were crazy and that they were destined to destroy their companies. But, over time, they were proven to be right, time and time again.
I found this story about Henry Ford on Inc.com that demonstrates one of the bold leaps of faith he made:
“Henry Ford faced falling demand for his cars and high worker turnover, so in 1914 he did something that probably made other barons of industry go pale: he doubled his employees’ wages. Crazy? Well, within a year, turnover dropped by a factor of more than 20 while productivity nearly doubled, and demand for Ford cars boomed because Ford’s own workers could now afford the product they were making.”
When you make decisions based on your intuition, you might be labeled as crazy or unpredictable, but you are making leaps of logic and sensing new connections that others miss. This is where new ideas and innovation stems from. Being able to zig while everyone else is zagging will open up some amazing opportunities in your life.
The Intelligence In your Body
On a physiological level, in both the heart and the gut, we know there is a concentrated cluster of neurons that have the capacity to process and send information to the brain. So by definition, these areas in our body possess an innate form of intelligence, thus, we can use this type of intelligence to guide our decision-making. It’s hardly any wonder why we hear people say, “listen to your heart,” and “trust your gut!”
I don’t want to dive into this topic in too much depth as I’ve already discussed it in way more detail in another post on my blog. To read more about the fascinating science of our heart intelligence, click here to go read my detailed article on this topic.
How To Tune Into Your Internal GPS
Ok, so if you’ve stuck with me this far, you must be dying to know what practical steps you can take to start receiving guidance from your internal GPS. I will warn you now, it’s going to require a whole lot of practice, consistency, and trust before you will start to get reliable guidance on the things that matter in your life. Also, I do not claim to be an expert in this area. The method outlined below is what I’m currently testing in my life. In fact, it was my internal GPS that gave me the drive to start writing again, opening up a whole new area of my life that I had never considered before.
So if you’re down for putting in the work, here’s what you need to do.
1 – Meditate Daily
I’m a big advocate for daily meditation practice. To be able to listen to your internal GPS, you must be able to quiet your mind so you don’t mix up your own internal ramblings with the intelligence that is available for you. If you want to get your hands on a free 12-minute guided meditation I recorded to help you manifest what you want, click here.
2 – Just Ask
After you have been meditating for some time, say 15 or 20 minutes, solidify one question in your mind that you would like answered. Repeat this question several times in your mind and then let it go.
3 – Be Receptive
Next, you want to shift into a receptive state. Place your attention outside of yourself, into the space around you. You want to lose all sense of your mind and body and drift out into the vastness of space. Stay there for some time. If any answers or insights come, try and remember them for the next stage.
4 – Start Writing
If you received some answers while in your receptive state, make sure to write them down immediately. If not, no worries. Sit there for a few more minutes with a pen and paper, and just write down whatever comes to mind. The idea is to write continuously, without stopping and without judging what’s coming through.
5 – Trust
This step is the biggie! You now have to decide if you’re going to trust the guidance you have just received or to continue with your life as it is. It’s going to take some time to differentiate between the information that is already in your mind and the information from your internal GPS. My advice is to trust whatever comes through and see where it leads. Or, you can ask the same question again, in a subsequent session, to see if you get the same answer. If you do, then you know what needs to happen!